Kanter sparks Confidence

By Denebola
Published: October 2008

By Elissa Spinner and Jesse Zhang

Only weeks before what many consider to be the most important presidential election in decades, Harvard Business Professor Rosabeth Kanter spoke to students on Wednesday October 15 during the 18th annual Lillian Radlo Forum at Newton South High School.

Kanter, named one of the Times of London’s “50 Most Powerful Women in the World, delivered an inspirational speech about activism, leadership, and unity.

The six major components of Kanter’s speech were: the students, the working family, good companies, respect for the government, how Americans are engaged in the world, and community service.

Kanter argued that a major cause of the downward economic spiral is that “[those who made mistakes that caused the spiral] look for something to blame. They refuse to believe that they had done something wrong.

Kanter, explaining how true leadership involves teamwork, compared the Bush administration to a sports team. She spoke about why “losers keep losing and winners keep winning.

“On losing teams everyone wants to go home instead of critique the game, Kanter said, referring to the Bush administration’s policies of denial and hiding information from the American public. “Those seen as losing are abandoned. They go passive.

A central point in Kanter’s speech was activism. “Going passive is a response to overwhelming problems and it’s a mistake. Action is better than inaction. Good leaders call us to action, Kanter said. “We need administrative leaders who understand the entire picture and are willing to tell the American people.

Kanter emphasized the role of civilians in the solution to the national crisis. Instead of accusing the government, people should instead try to work with it.

“We need more respect for the government. Respect for the government means we should honor public service. Kanter said.

Instead of merely blaming Wall Street for greed and corruption, she suggested that people should “start applauding those companies who are less to blame and have actually done some good.

Kanter also stressed the importance of community service because it engages people across diverse groups. She feels that the idealism and creativity of young people is key to making a difference.

She encourages America’s emerging “white coat economy, an economy where the “highest reward goes to those who invent. The scientific inventive minds that are able to concoct creative ideas are those that benefit society the most.

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